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Chemical and mineralogical characterization of cemented waste samples

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The Waste and Disposal expert group conducts research on the behavior of nuclear waste, its surrounding engineered and natural barriers, and their interactions. It is composed of a multi-disciplinary team of engineers and scientists specialized in material sciences, geology, radionuclide chemistry, geochemistry and mass transport phenomena. Recently, the Waste and Disposal group has broadened its scope and also started to conduct research on the immobilization of liquid waste streams. The immobilization process can be done in various ways, cementation being the best known and most applied technique. To investigate this, a new lab with state of the art equipment has been installed. Expertise has been built in the past year in different projects, but the novelty of this research within the Waste and Disposal group makes cementation an exciting research subject.


This project focusses on the characterization of cementitious waste samples, produced in our cement lab, by applying various characterization methods. Both fresh and hardened properties of cementitious waste samples are evaluated. You will master a wide range of techniques that are specific to the cement industry. These analysis results will allow for a better understanding and assessment of the cementitious waste and its quality.

The techniques to analyse the fresh properties of the samples are:

  • Setting time by Vicat Apparatus
  • Heat of hydration by isothermal and semi-adiabatic calorimeter

The techniques to assess the hardened properties of the samples are:

  • Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS)
  • X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and/or Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)
  • Mercury Intrusion Porosity (MIP)
  • Mechanical Strength
  • Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV)

Besides merely performing these analyses, the project also comprises:

  • the interpretation of the results
  • establishing connections between different techniques (e.g. link UPV to mechanical strength)
  • (learning to) prepare adequate procedures

Specific competences for the student include knowledge of inorganic chemistry, working accurately, good reporting skills, good knowledge of English and the willingness to master several new (analysis) techniques.

Working on this project will provide knowledge and skills in advanced characterization techniques, followed-up by an impeccable experience of collaboration with experts from the nuclear field.

The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

  • Professional bachelor
  • Academic bachelor

The candidate needs to have a background in

  • Chemistry

Expert group

R&D Waste Packages

SCK CEN Mentor

Ferreira Eduardo
eferreir [at]
+32 (0)14 33 82 06

SCK CEN Co-mentor

Hendrix Katrien
khendrix [at]
+32 (0)14 33 32 55